ADDITIONAL legal services
Crafting Compassionate Legal Solutions and Ensuring Steadfast Advocacy.

Dog Bite Accident Lawyers in Chesterfield, MO

Dog Bite Accident Lawyers in Chesterfield, MO

Standing Up for the Rights of Victims Hurt by a Vicious Dog

It is estimated that over 4.5 million Americans are injured in a dog bite accident in the United States every year. While pet dogs are a source of companionship and protection for many, owners need to be aware of the potential danger their canine companions may pose to the public – especially for younger children. Missouri law makes dog owners strictly liable for any damages their dog’s behavior may cause. If you were hurt by a dangerous dog, it is important to know how Missouri’s dog bite laws work and the steps you may take to recover compensation for your injuries. If you need legal advice for your case, contact the dog bite injury lawyers at Mid-America Law Practice LLC at 314-866-9556 for a free case evaluation.

Is Missouri a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?

In some states, the one-bite rule law is used when dealing with cases involving dog bites. It states that the owner of a dog is only responsible for damages caused by their dog if they knew or should have known that the dog was likely to cause harm. This means that if a dog has never attacked anyone before, the owner may not be held accountable for any damages caused by their pet.

In contrast, Missouri is a strict liability state for dog bites, meaning that when a dog causes injury to another person, the owner is held liable for the damages regardless of their prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous behavior. The owner is responsible for any damages caused by their dog regardless of whether the dog has a bite history, and the victim does not have to prove negligence.

Are Dog Owners Responsible for Non-bite Injuries Caused by Their Dogs?

In Missouri, the strict liability dog bite laws typically only apply to dog bites, meaning a dog bite victim may be eligible for damages recovery without necessarily proving the dog owner was negligent. Even if a dog has no previous bite history or aggressive tendencies, any bite can make the dog owner accountable for damages.

However, some injuries can be caused by a dog’s typical behavior, such as jumping, pushing, or knocking a person down. If a person is injured by a dog in a non-bite incident, the victim may need to prove that the owner was negligent and knew about the dog’s tendency to engage in the behavior that caused their injury. For example, if a dog owner is aware that their dog tends to be uncontrollable when off-leash and has a propensity for jumping on strangers, the dog owner could be considered negligent if someone is knocked down by their dog, even if the dog’s behavior is playful and not aggressive. In some cases, the person who was hurt by a dog can show that the owner was negligent per se because they violated a local ordinance, such as keeping a dog on a leash in public areas at all times. If you were injured by a dog, it may be a good idea to consult a dog bite attorney to see if you have a case.

What Happens if a Dog Bites Someone Who Is Trespassing Onto Private Property?

Missouri’s strict liability laws may not apply to certain circumstances in which a dog bit someone who was trespassing onto private property or provoking and abusing the dog in any way. For example, if a person is trespassing and attempting to break into the dog owner’s home with the intent to commit a crime, that person’s unlawful entry into the property may serve as a defense to the dog owner. Likewise, if the victim provoked the dog by engaging in behavior such as teasing or abusing the dog when the dog reacted by biting or attacking that person, the owner may be able to argue that the victim’s own actions were the cause of the injury.

In some cases, both the dog owner and the dog bite victim may share responsibility for the dog attack. For instance, if the victim was bitten because they approached the dog at a public park while the animal was off-leash and tried to chase the dog or intimidate it, the victim’s own actions may have caused the dog to attack them. However, the owner should not have allowed their dog to roam freely without a leash attached or any way of controlling the animal. In a case like this, the rule of pure comparative negligence may be applied to determine the percentage of liability of each party involved.

 What Kind of Damages Can a Dog Bite Victim Recover?

In Missouri, a dog bite victim may seek payment for a variety of economic and non-economic damages resulting from their injuries. Economic damages usually include financial losses such as medical expenses and lost wages, while non-economic damages include pain, suffering, and emotional trauma resulting from the attack.

Medical expenses may include hospital bills, medical bills, doctor visits, medications, physical therapy, and any other costs associated with the victim’s treatment. Lost wages refer to the income the victim lost due to time taken off of work to recover from the injury. Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate the victim for the physical and emotional pain resulting from the attack.

Dog bites are a type of premises liability claim, which means the dog bite victim may file an insurance claim against the dog owner’s home insurance policy (if the attack took place at the dog owner’s property). Alternatively, the injured victim may seek legal representation and file a personal injury lawsuit in court to receive compensation. The dog bite lawyers at Mid-America Law Practice LLC can analyze your case and help you determine the best course of action. Contact our law office in Chesterfield, MO, by calling 314-866-9556 for more information.